ITALY 6-20 NEW ZEALAND, 2009
In November 2009 the All Blacks were grinding through their second test that year against Italy. The first, in June, had been dire – one of the worst tests in recent memory.
The return game in Milan wasn’t much better, and there was a period in the middle of the game reduced to farce.
The set-piece collapsed and reset 12 times with a young Wyatt Crockett, making his way in test football, repeatedly penalised.
It was a baptism of fire for the All Blacks loosehead and he was eventually substituted to spare him from the ordeal.
But his confidence should never have been shaken like that – his reputation was wrongly damaged as Australian referee Stuart Dickinson had allowed Italian tighthead Martin Castrogiovani to operate outside the rules.
World Rugby referee boss Paddy O’Brien was so upset by the performance that he flew to London to make a public apology.
O’Brien said Dickinson had been “totally wrong”.
“The best example I can use is in the last 10 minutes there were eight scrums, of which seven the tighthead for Italy is purely illegal.
“Up here they’re crying that it should have been a penalty try. It should have been a penalty first scrum to the All Blacks. We’ve got to be fair to teams.
“If the referee is not accurate we’ve got to put our hand up. We need to educate that referee and get him better because that scrummaging on Saturday was not up to international standard.
“You’ve got a young guy [Crockett] trying to launch his test career and get things right and the referee is inaccurate. Then it’s our problem. We’ve got to deal with the ref, which we will, just like Graham [Henry, the New Zealand coach] deals with a player who is not playing well.”
PLAIN WRONG Stuart Dickinson was accused by his boss of having no idea what was happening at scrum time in Milan, 2009.